Feeling down? Try these five tips to fight the blues and get happy naturally…
Even if you don’t feel like it, put on a big smile. Research has shown that even a fake smile can make us feel happier. Smile at yourself in the mirror, and when you’re out in public, make a conscious effort to smile at strangers instead of looking grumpy. While a fake smile can’t beat something serious like depression, it can certainly help to turn neutral emotions into positive ones
2. Keep a diary
Remember spilling all your feelings to a journal in high school? That not only helps teenage angst, it’s been shown to help adults feel better too – it’s a good way to relieve frustration and express emotion. Even better, you don’t just have to record all the times you’re upset – keeping a happiness journal, a gratitude journal or even recording your bad-mood triggers, can all have a beneficial effect.
3. Schedule me-time
Research has shown that keeping a routine, such as eating, sleeping and exercising at the same time every day, is good for your mental and physical health. Within this routine, it’s just as important to make sure you’re not over-scheduling yourself, and to also make time in your day for some me-time. Whether it’s curling up with a book, watching a funny movie, or having an indulgent bubble bath, make sure there’s time in your day to be a bit selfish and just relax. The truth is, if you’re happy, it’ll rub off on those around you too.
4. Eat “happy” foods
A variety of foods have an effect on your mood. We all know chocolate makes us happier, but there are some nutrients that boost your mood – the omega-3s in fatty fish, the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut, and the magnesium and selenium in nuts have all been shown to give people a boost.
5. Help others
The positive psychological effects of helping others have been shown in multiple studies. However, it’s important to keep a good balance. Don’t over-commit yourself, as this could have the opposite effect, but try to do at least one small thing a day: compliment someone, pay for your friend’s coffee, or give stressed-out drivers a gap in traffic. Small acts of kindness often make the biggest difference.